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four simple goals.

I love a beautiful mess’ tradition of choosing 4 simple goals to focus on around this time of year. I especially love the challenge of creating “activity-oriented,” rather than “results-oriented” goals, as so many of us tend to do. I think the holidays is a perfect time to do something like this because so much of what we do this time of year revolves around the things and people that we love the most. without further adieu, here are a four simple goals that I have on my mind this season.

1. develop a signature dish (and maybe cocktail).

I’ve always wanted to have that one dish that I make so often and make so well that it becomes something like a signature dish for our family. growing up, my favorite thing that my mom made was angel hair pasta with homemade tomato sauce and chicken breast sautéed with garlic and onions. totally unglamorous, simple, but despite those things (or maybe because of those things), was always so perfect. even though it’s a recipe  that someone else has already created, I’m thinking that the pasta with caramelized onions and yogurt from food52 is exactly what i have in mind. I love that at its simplest, it’s only 5 ingredients, and they’re all things that we routinely have on hand. I also love that it’s extremely versatile and you could simply leave it as is for a delicious weeknight vegetarian meal, or take things up a notch and add shrimp or sliced steak or my new favorite signature side dish, pan-fried brussels sprouts. it’s totally flexible to seasons, too – a few fresh heirloom tomatoes sprinkled over the top in the summer, butternut squash pureed with the yogurt in the fall, with spinach blanched in pasta water in the spring. I can’t wait to keep experimenting with this dish to perfect it and make it my own. now, when are you all coming over for some pasta and negronis?

2. establish a sunday morning tradition.

I love traditions. it’s funny, when I think back to my childhood about my favorite traditions and routines, they’re all silly little things that at the time didn’t seem so exciting, but that i remember so vividly and warmly still today. like scouring the neighborhood for model homes on sunday mornings after mass or getting to eat dessert (marie callender’s frozen berry cobbler, always) in front of the tv on thursday nights to watch the simpson’s with my parents.

sunday mornings are at the top of my list for favorite things in the whole world. to me, they are the calm before the storm of the new week ahead and a chance to set ourselves up for a good week. in the summers, chocolate croissants and coffee from jones bros. before hitting up the aksarben village farmer’s market is our typical sunday morning routine, but now that the market is closed again until may i’m thinking that a distinct winter tradition is in order. the last few weeks, we’ve been waking up later (read: 7:30), taking our time to make french pressed coffee and trying out various brunch recipes. with the addition of a subscription to the sunday new york times, i’m not sure that sunday mornings could get much better.

3. be intentional about making and growing friendships.

we always knew our time in tucson would be temporary, so I think subconsciously we didn’t try as hard to cultivate friendships while we were there. it’s something that I definitely regret, and given the fact that we’re planning to stay in omaha for a long time, not a mistake I want to make a second time. we’re always talking about how we wished we knew more people that we could do x, y, or z with, but we rarely do anything to fix that. I want to start being more intentional both about meeting new people and becoming closer to people we already know. for starters, we’re thinking about hosting a dinner party with a some people we’d like to get to know better, and starting a meetup group to, of course, meet completely new people! oh, and is it just me, or is making new friends post-college even more awkward than dating?

4. get organized.

this may be borderline results-oriented, but it’s really all about our quality of life. i know that a lack of organization in our home makes me feel anxious and in turn, makes it hard to enjoy being there. at that same time, especially with a new house where there’s a million projects we always want to work on, sometimes we have to take a step back and just live a little. this last goal is all about finding the balance between these two things. specifically, it’s about committing to spending the time needed to finish the couple of projects that are in progress right now – specifically, tearing up the tile in our basement and fully unpacking and organizing our kitchen – and after that’s done, spending some time just living and enjoying each other’s company and our new space and giving ourselves a break in between projects. sometimes amidst all the projects and all the other things going on in our lives, i forget that we just bought this house two months ago, and there’s no rush to get everything done and no need to make everything perfect. the fact that we are able to call this place our home is a huge blessing in and of itself.

what are your simple goals for this season? i’d love to hear in the comments or on your own blog :)

photos: 1 / 2 (my own) / 3 /

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on my mind.

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

[the invitation, oriah mountain dreamer]

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